GoPros have been a part of mountain biking and adventure sports for as long as they've existed. The small cameras are designed to be light and easy to carry, and they're made to pick up fast, erratic movement beautifully. It's no wonder that people started figuring out how to duct tape them in place or make homemade mounting hardware as soon as they could get their hands on one.
Fortunately, adventure sports fanatics are a capable lot, and now it's easier than ever to stick a camera on your bike and capture your whole journey from start to finish, with every bump and bruise along the way. Here's a few tips to consider before getting started.
Decide What to Film
Although it's quick and easy to mount a GoPro to a mountain bike, nobody wants to stop their ride in the middle because they need to move their camera around. Figure out what kind of footage is best before the ride even starts, and set the camera up for maximum effectiveness. Position the camera on the handlebars for a point of view video, or lower on the frame to capture the tires hitting the trail.
It's possible to change your mind later, but if you go into the ride with a plan of attack, it will make everything go much more smoothly. Be confident in your decision, so once you're ready to go, all you have to do is enjoy the trip.
Mount It Safely
There are plenty of official and after market products made specifically for the purpose of mounting a GoPro to your mountain bike, and those are the suggested solution. Inventive cinematographers on a tight budget may have to get creative, but they do so at their own risk.
The major advantage of a professional mount is stability and positioning. The GoPro is small and lightweight, but that doesn't mean it won't get in the way if it's mounted wrong. Make sure all of the hardware is tightened down, and the camera doesn't get in the way of any moving parts. Double check the hardware. It may sound like common sense, but a loose nut falling off on the trail is difficult to find.
Practice Before the Ride
It may seem like it should be second nature to ride with a GoPro mounted on the bike, but it's not just a water bottle hanging from your bar. Depending on where the camera is mounted, it could get in the way of body movement. A knee or hand bumping into it at the wrong time can make a rider lose concentration, or shift the camera angle.
Ride around and get used to the camera being there. If it feels obtrusive, adjust its position until you can't even tell it's there without checking to make sure. Additionally, turn the GoPro on while you're practicing to check that the camera angle is good. It may look great without a rider, but once someone is pedaling it could end up less than perfect. Everyone holds their bike under them just a little differently, and that little adjustment in angle could mean a substantial change in what the camera sees.